Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Morro Bay to Ventura, via Avila Bay Pt. San Luis and Santa Barbara


We left Morro Bay at 7:45 on Sunday morning and made our way to Avila Bay behind San Luis Point.  We left just as the tide was turning from ebb to flood which are good conditions from getting past the bar and breakwater of Morro Bay out to sea.   We motored-sailed most of the way.  There wasn’t enough wind for us to sail, only 4-6 knots of wind.  Worrall Wind needs about 8 knots to move minimally.   The sea swells were coming from the northwest, 6-8 feet high. It took us only four hours to get to Avila Bay, but by making this little hop, we knew we would be able to leave early in the morning and not worry about foggy and tide conditions like we would getting out of Morro Bay.  It would also make our trip to Coho, right around Point Conception doable by noon.  We had been told at Morro Bay by a wise old seaman  to anchor where X marked the spot.

We anchored between the two piers on Avila  Bay in about 28 feet if water right under the X, where we ate lunch on the bow, enjoying a lovely breeze, watching harbor seals and black clouds of sea birds landing in the water, relaxing, playing with our compass, and watching our anchor alarm.

We were moving all over the place but within our anchor circle. We didn’t bother launching the dinghy, as the surf into the beach looked more than we wanted to tackle.  

There were only a couple of other boats anchored in the bay.  About sunset, one of the ketches that had shown no signs of life all afternoon, started to prepare the boat for pulling anchor.  They must have slept during the day and were making a night passage around Point Arguello and Point Conception.  Ever since our night passage eight years ago bashing north with lots of water over the bow, I’ve been dreading going around these points again.

We listened to the weather reports and sea state.  It didn’t sound too bad, 15-20 knots of wind, with gusts up to 25.  The sea swells of 8-10 feet every 12-13 seconds were the same on both Sunday and Monday.  We decided to take the two dreaded points during the day rather than at night even though the conditions at night are usually calmer because of subdued winds.  Nevertheless, we started to question our judgment when the other ketch left Sunday night.  Did they know something we didn’t?  We watched the ketch leave into the sunset.

We went to bed early and awoke at 5:30.  We pulled up the anchor and were motoring out of the bay by 6:40, and the first light.  Our plan was to go around both of the points by midday and duck behind the point in Coho Bay for the rest of the afternoon.
The seas were flat and glassy.  By 9:15 there was a little breeze.  We hoisted the main and motor sailed at a beam reach, averaging 8 knots per hour.  We could have sailed, but were trying to get around the points by noon and the wind picked up.  By 9:30, we were 17 nm from Point Arguello.
There were swells 2-4 feet every 11 second, with 1 ft wind waves.  By the time we rounded Point Arguello, the wind had intensified, but it was pretty mild.

Between Arguello and Conception the seas got less stable and there were increasing white caps.  The northwest swells and the polar current flowing south were meeting the equatorial  current flowing north resulting in upwelling conditions.  You can read more about this at http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2003/2001JC001302.shtml
It was difficult to hold a course as the swells were rolling us around, but much easier than it would have been at night when we could not have seen the sea conditions.  To me that would have been too scary. I like to SEE the sea.

We rounded Conception about 1:00 with plans to anchor in Coho Bay on the backside of Conception and rest until the next morning.  When we got to Coho Bay, it was a pretty barren place, the Wind was still 18-20 knots and the seas choppy.  There were about 5 boats anchored there.  We could only surmise these were northbound boats waiting for better conditions that night.  It was not where we wanted to stay, however, so we made the decision to keep sailing.  It was early enough in the day that we could be in Santa Barbara by early evening.  The wind was blowing us down the channel and we sailed the rest of the afternoon.  It was glorious.

We arrived in Santa Barbara about 7:00 p.m. just at dusk which made it a bit difficult to pick up the colors of the red and green buoys leading into the channel.  Nevertheless, we made our way to the guest dock, registered for the night, and were given the last available slip on an end tie on the farthest dock from the harbor office.I fixed a quick meal while Russ cleaned up the fan tail.  We ate and tumbled into bed.  It had been a 16 hour day, and we were exhausted.

After sleeping in until 7:00 a.m. (early for me, late for Russ), we did a few chores, ate breakfast, and walked into town with our empty grocery bags.  First we walked out on the pier, then down State Street, and over to Castillo back toward the harbor.  Our walk brought back many memories of Abby’s college years here, her graduation, and our boat purchase.  This is where we walked the picturesque harbor of fishing boats 
and yachts, discovering our Nauticat in 2001.  We imagined ourselves returning someday on our way south, and here we are! 
We had been told of a Mexican grocery store on Castillo, the Santa Cruz, which had beautiful produce and fresh meat.  We were not disappointed and filled our bags with ice, avocados, cilantro, tomatoes, corn, chicken breasts…..lots, but not intentionally.  I’m used to thinking of a chicken breast as a half breast and asked for four breasts thinking when we reached Ventura we could bar-b-que the four breasts with two breasts left for a salad the following day.  Turned out I got for full breasts (8 very plump halves)!  We’ll be eating chicken all week as I have no way of freezing them yet, and we must eat them before we leave for Italy on Friday.  Chicken in the morning, chicken in the evening, chicken at supper time.
By 1:30 p.m. we had slipped the docked lines and were sailing out of Santa Barbara on our way to Ventura.  We cut the motor just outside the harbor and sailed all afternoon until the sun started sinking into the sea.

At the point we turned on the engine and motored the last 3 miles to Ventura so that we could be in our slip before dark.  One of our great pleasures while sailing is to listen to books on tape or CD.  We finished our lazy, beautiful sail at the same time we finished our murder mystery.  We called the Marina office at 4:30 and learned that the office was going to close at 5:00, but they promised to leave a gate key and the car keys that our nephew Mike so graciously left for us to his beautiful Tacoma truck in the dock box at our slip.  We will drive the truck to LAX on Friday and park it.  When Mike and Teresa return from the wedding, a few days before we do, they will pick up the truck, then pick us up when we return… very convenient and much appreciated!

As soon as we reached our slip in the Ventura Isla Marina, I started dinner.  I coated half of the fresh chicken with garlic pepper, lemon juice, and oregano and we grilled them. I cut up the other breasts into chunks and am marinating them for for chicken kabobs tomorrow night.   I pulled some cabbage out of the hold and made an avocado slaw with cilantro. We feasted and relaxed the rest of the evening.

For the next couple of days we will be in Ventura catching up on some projects before we leave for Garyn and Jessica’s wedding in Tuscany.  This will be the last Worrall Wind entry until we return the end of September. Ciao!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Santa Cruz to Morro Bay via Monterey and San Simeon

It's hard to believe that we left one week ago today. As I write this entry, Russ is entering waypoints into our navigation software. It's about 9:00 p.m. and we are on a mooring ball in Morro Bay waiting for the dryer's last cycle at the Morro Bay Yacht Club to coincide with an evening shower so that we can pick up fresh warm towels. Then tomorrow morning we will be taking a short sail down to Avila Bay tucked behind Point San Luis where we will anchor for the night. From there we will sail early Monday morning around Points Arguello and Conception with an overnight anchorage in Coho before reaching Ventura on Tuesday.

Santa Cruz
So let's backtrack a little. We reached Santa Cruz late Tuesday afternoon, and spent two nights at the Santa Cruz Small Yacht Harbor. On Wednesday, we walked to the local chandlery and to West Marine (several miles) to buy the parts we needed to install new running lights, the anomometer, and shower pump. The LED lights wouldn't be in until the following day, so we decided to spend the two nights in Santa Cruz instead of two nights in Monterey. The sun was out and the harbor was beautiful.

Once we returned from our big hike, I hiked back out to get some groceries several blocks away while Russ worked on projects. Once again, we unpacked and repacked the V-berth lockers to string wire for the running lights. After dinner, we took a sunset walk out to Walton's Lighthouse where we found a geocache and met two lovely ladies out for a walk who took our picture holding up our "Out the Gate and Hang a Left" Travel Bug and showed us the way to the Santa Cruz Yacht Club. The Club was bustling and festive with the finish of the Wednesday night races.
All in all, we must have walked 4-8 miles. Good exercise after a couple of days on the boat.

On Thursday morning, Russ and I worked on installing the anemometer. Russ climbed the mast the first time to replace the broken flag halyard, and the second time to the top to install the wind instrument and straighten out the wind vane. We feed new wire down the mast and got everything connected on top. Just as Russ climbed down the mast, the phone rang and our LED lights had arrived. While Russ left to pick up the lights, I hosed the harbor grime off the boat and stowed things for our sail across Monterey Bay. The wind was picking up and we were looking forward to a good sail. We weren't disappointed. We left right after lunch with 15 knots of wind and had a fabulous sail across the Bay with all of our sails up. About 1/2 way across the Bay, we sailed into a thick fog with visibility of less than 1/2 nautical mile. Russ flipped on the radar and we navigated by instrument to about 1 mile off of Monterey when burst out of the fog into the glorious sun and blue water just outside the harbor.

After securing Worrall Wind in her slip, we checked into the harbor office and spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Monterey and doing some grocery shopping for some easy to fix food during our planned 12 hour sail day on Thursday from Monterey down to San Simeon. Monterey is such a beautiful place. Being there brought back lots of memories from our sailing adventures with our Catalina 25 group when we used to trailer our little boats down to Monterey to go whale watching in February. I don't think we ever saw many whales, but we sure had a lot of fun. I remember the swells being so big that our friends' boats would disappear from view as we would sink into a trough. When we rose to the crest of the swell, we would all have our binoculars ready to scan for whales. The seas weren't nearly as big this time around and our boat is almost twice as big...and still no whales.

San Simeon or Brigadoon?

When we awoke at 5:00 a.m. on Friday morning, we were in a thick fog. We had planned on leaving by 6:00, but postponed our departure until the sun rose a little more for better visibility. Once in 2003 we sailed overnight from Drake's Bay to Monterey Bay and got to our waypoint that would lead us into Monterey Bay about 3:00 a.m. Russ and I were asleep, and our friends Clark and Nina were on watch. The fog was so thick, they hove to and waited for the sun to rise before going in. We decided to do the same before going out. We left Monterey at 7:30 a.m. and drifted into the foggy sea. A pod of dolphin escorted us out the Bay on glassy gray seas, surfing on our bow wake.

For twelve hours, we motored south, tacking across our course line, bucking the swell head on so that we could turn back across and take advantage of surfing on a northwest following swell. Staying on our course line was very uncomfortable because the swells were coming at us from our beam and the boat would roll and loll from one side to the other. It's a good thing that neither of us get (to date) sea sick because that surely would have done it. The day was long and challenging as we never saw the sun the entire time. We missed seeing Big Sur and the beautiful California coast. I spent most of the day at the helm, Russ did most of the radar and navigation. We tried letting Ado (our auto pilot) steer the boat, but unlike a human, Ado couldn't see the direction the swells were coming and anticipate how to ride the swell so that the passengers weren't thrown from side of the boat to the other. We enjoyed listening to an audio book and playing with our electronic gadgetry. All in in all, we had a great day. We got to San Simeon just before dusk.

We were a little concerned about anchoring in San Simeon, primarily because we couldn't see anything and had never anchored in the fog without some reference point. Usually when we anchor, we "set" the anchor by reversing the engine and fixing on a reference point in relation to a stay or stanchion on the boat. We could barely make out the entrance buoy. From the radar we were expecting to see some other boats and had a general idea where the land was. Our chart and radar overlay weren't matching up the way they should have been, so we were going to have to ignore the chart and follow the radar, but weren't entirely sure we could trust the radar because our radar heading wasn't accurate. Just as our anxiety was mounting and our eyes were straining to see whatever we could, Brigadoon appeared out of the mist. For just about half an hour, the setting sunlight illuminated the little bay just enough for us to find a place to anchor.

We were exhilarated and exhausted. After dinner, we fell into bed, but as the evening deepened, the ocean swell grew higher rocking the boat uncomfortably all night. The boat creaked, rattled and hummed. We had two anchor alarms set and couldn't see a thing outside of the portholes as the fog was thicker than ever. I don't get sick when we are moving forward and rocking, but laying in bed, bobbing and pitching was really uncomfortable. Mercifully, the sun finally rose and we could get moving again.

Morro Bay
We left, once again in deep fog. The ocean was incredibly beautiful. There wasn't a wisp of wind. Undulating waves of gunmetal satin and our Lehman engine carried us into the mist. Periodically, light from the sun would find it's way through thinner wisps of fog to create silver ribbons of light across the waves. Sea birds bobbed on kelp and left black water trails as they would take flight by first running across the water.

Around noon, we arrived at Morro Bay. Visibility was now a couple of nautical miles, but fog still hung down to the horizon. As we approached the mouth of the bay we could see the big rock and breakers hiting the seawall. The swells would hit the wall on a diagonal and spray white foam skyward running along the seawall like the choreographed "wave" at a football stadium. Beautiful and powerful. We navigated our way into the channel and reached the Morro Bay Yacht Club where we secured ourselves to a mooring ball, and spent the afternoon walking to the farmer's market, doing laundry, chatting with MBYC members, and having a great fish and chips dinner at Rosie's. We plan to sleep in tomorrow morning before heading south to Point San Luis.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz

When we tuned into the weather forecast on Sunday evening after a great day on the beach with the Berkeley Yacht Club, venturing out into the sea on Labor Day looked daunting with 20-35 knots of wind, 8-10 foot waves every 11 seconds, and 3-4 foot wind waves with small craft warnings until 9:00 p.m. Instead of taking a left and heading south Worrall Wind stayed tucked in the Half Moon Bay Harbor with a handful of other boats that decided to wait for Tuesday when the seas would be more friendly. It's grand to not have to go back to work and just take our time.

Russ and I spent a wonderful, quiet day on the boat with lots of a little projects we hadn't had time to complete before our departure, like inventorying the ditch bag, medical bag, medicine chest, connecting switches, attaching safety bars, route planning, etc. We barely ventured outside on the deck as the chill winds blew and spume from the crashing waves shotup against the breakwater. I kept the anchor watch GPS by my side to make sure we didn't drag. Thankfully we were good and stuck. Our neighbors however drifted and got quite close before they realized they were dragging. They pulled up their anchor and motored elsewhere. My guess was a slip in the harbor. Our only casualty was our flag halyard snapped from the wind, and we lost our Seven Seas Cruising Association flag.

The sardine balls in Half Moon Bay made for incredible feeding frenzy entertainment. Harbor seals gracefully conducted a synchronized ballet, dove, leaped and slid under the water to grab their breakfast.Pelicans dropped bill first like cannon balls all around us. It was quite the show. The sardines must have been greatly diminished by the end of the day.

We awoke early on Tuesday morning. The wind had died down, the water was flat, and there was a morning mist. Even the deck under the bimini was soaked. We left Half Moon Bay and headed south, motoring in less than 2 knots of wind, 3-5 foot swells every 10 seconds. By noon we noticed some ripple on the water. We pulled up the main, turned off the motor, and poled out the jib and sailed wing on wing. We heard nothing but the water against the hull and an occasional sea bird, NOT QUITE....along with all the things not secured well inside the boat crashing to the floor when the boat caught side waves and lolled and rolled from one side to the other. Once we got everything stowed properly, then we heard just the water and the sea birds.

We arrived in Santa Cruise about 3:00 p.m. We wanted to anchor off the pier by the boardwalk. We tried dropping and setting the anchor three times (2 different anchors) to no avail. Both Russ and the windlass were exhausted (the next project). We made arrangements to go into the Santa Cruz small craft harbor. Here too, the otters, seals, and pelicans entertained us as we cleaned up after the sail and Russ worked on reviving the windlass and cleaning the ailing shower sump pump. It's a good thing Russ knows how to do all of these things. I think this sump pump must be the only thing we don't have a spare part for. Wouldn't you know, so it's off to the chandlrey we go.

We may spend two nights here depending on whether Russ can get what he needs at local chandlery. Our running lights don't seem to be working well, and if we want to do a night passage around Point Conception, we need to get these in working order. We will either spend 2 nights here or 2 nights in Monterey. In the mean time, we are having fun! Check out our tracks on Where in the Worrall?? in the left column.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Out the Gate and Hanging a Left

After years, months, and weeks of preparation, we cast off the bowlines for our Worrall Cruise about 8:00 a.m. on September 5, 2009, exactly as dreamed and planned. Mark Twain would have been proud! We were really keyed up and ready to GO! The night before we said goodbye to friends at the Berkeley Yacht Club and paid our inactive dues for the coming year. Doug and Catherine, provided us with a much appreciated packet of harbor maps from their recent southern California cruise. We will catch up again with them in San Diego for the Baja Ha Ha.
Brother and sister-in-law, Ted and Marian, arrived at 6:30 a.m.to help with final prep and cast off. Russ discovered a little leak after we started the motor which we thought might set us back, but after a few minutes in the engine room, Russ decided it was only an annoyance not a problem. Phew!

I picked up crew, Garyn and Jessica, at the Berkeley BART station. They had driven their car to Half Moon Bay the night before.

BYC friends Jack and Linda, and also new residents of our Emery Cove slip, took lots of pictures and escorted us out the GATE in their boat. There were several marina neighbors waving us off. We had been and still are receiving email bon voyage sentiments and phone calls. Jean and Bruce were standing on the Emeryville pier waving us off as we went through the break water. Carolyn and Bob and Wayne and Carol were waving to us from Sausilito and Fort Baker. Because of the incoming traffic in the shipping channel and the fog, we decided it would be prudent to stay on the southern border of the shipping channel which was a bit far from Fort Baker and Sausalito.
Here are some photos of us getting ready to go under the bridge, going under,
and looking back.

We did wave, but don't know if anyone saw us. We were deeply touched by all of your good wishes, lovely sentiments, and parting waves. A special thanks for those of you who drove from your homes many miles away to send us off! Even if we couldn't see you and you couldn't see us, we knew you were there (or thinking of us from afar), and you made the day a very special one for us. Thank you.

Despite the cold and fog (which we promised to ourselves to remember when we are baking and steaming in the tropics), there was no wind. It was bitter sweet knowing that it would be some time before we sail in the San Francisco Bay again. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at sailing, we wound up motoring to Half Moon Bay. By the time we arrived in Half Moon Bay, the sun was out and the water had just a few breeze ripples. Jessica did a terrific job at the helm most of the way down the coast.We put 6 hours on the engine and arrived around 2:30 p.m. We had only a couple of glitches along the way. Our wind generator and solar panels were producing so many amps, our engine alternator got very confused and kept cutting in and out. Russ wound up temporarily disabling both our wind and solar, and then the engine alternator seemed to work fine.

I started our SPOT tracking device just before we left the Marina. If you click on the Where in the Worrall?? in the left hand column of the blog, you can see our tracks and follow our cruise as we progress. When you get to the map, it's more interesting to click the satellite/hybrid view and zoom in. Don't be alarmed by track spots 26 and 27. Despite what you see when these two spots were connected, we did not sail our boat across the land into the harbor. The Spot sends coordinates every ten minutes. From point 26 we traversed south and came in through the break water. By point 27 we were in our anchor location horizontal from 26. The tracker connected the two points, but it looks like went through the shoals and over the breakwater to our anchorage.

When we got to Half Moon Bay, we dinghied into Princeton, Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, where Jessica and Garyn had parked their car nearby. We had a nice dinner at the Brew Pub, then Russ and Garyn took a ride to a hardware store to pickup some toggle switches for solar and wind power while Jessica and I walked around. By the time Garyn and Jessica left, about 5:30, the fog had come back in. They were going back to Emeryville to pick up our car and ferry it up to the house and park it in the garage. They still had several hours ahead of them.

We on the other hand, finally felt free, no time constraints, no "must do" chores, or last minute preparations. What a great feeling!

Russ and I visited with some BYC folks having dinner at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club and then worked our way back through the fog to our boat. Visibility was really poor (50 yards), but we did find Worrall Wind calmly sitting where we had left her shrouded in a thick mist. By 9:00 p.m. we were sound asleep, lulled by the fog horns and only a few breaks in the still water by surfacing harbor seals around our boat.

Today there is a BYC beach party. Tomorrow, depending on weather we will be turning left instead of right when the BYC cruise out is over. A dream come true!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Today's the Day!

The moon is brilliant with the approaching sunrise. There are some clouds and fog
this morning. Worrall Wind has blue sky directly above at the moment, but this may not
last. We still plan on leaving around 8:00. Until we meet again, we're off!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Cast Off Tomorrow!

Forecast tomorrow looks like patchy low clouds and fog tomorrow morning. If it was like this morning, the visibility will be pretty good below the fog. We'll have to see, but are still planning on leaving between 7:30-8:00 (probably closer to 8:00ish). Will post again tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

48 Hours and Counting

After numerous trips home and back to the boat, we are loaded to the gills! We have spent the last couple of days stowing all the stuff! What a job. Russ and I are closing in on all of the projects that will allow us to cast off. We still plan to leave on Saturday even though our refrigeration/freezer system are not installed. The refrigeration folks will be driving down to Ventura and installing while we are attending our son's wedding. I will be doing final provisioning with lots of canned goods and non-refrigerated packages. We still have our teeny-weeny icebox which we will use for most critical foods. A lot of projects will continue as we sail and probably for the next six months!

We are taking our general ham license tomorrow. I think we are ready. Final chores on Friday and final BYC bar-b-que, then off on Saturday morning. Slack at the "Gate" is 8:49. Looks like the weather will be ok. Not sure about the fog though. We plan to leave Emeryville between 7:30 and 8:00. Remember the Bay Bridge is closed this weekend for any of you who are planning to wave goodbye. Garyn and Jessica will be accompanying us to Half Moon Bay, pick up their car and head back to Emeryville where they will pickup our car and ferry back home for safe keeping until we return.

Got to go! Still lots to do. But it's looking good for Saturday! We will confirm Friday night and again on Saturday morning. Stay tuned to the blogspot.